CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - One southern Indiana student’s academic achievements stand out from the pack as his SAT scores and hard work in the classroom have already unlocked a very bright future.
Inside Corydon Central High School, senior Lauren Blackburn and his classmates are getting ready for finals.
“It was a little stressful the last couple weeks coming up to the AP tests," Blackburn said. “I had six AP tests this year.”
School has always come easy for him, even after skipping sixth grade.
“I don’t think I was ever behind academically," he said. “I was a lot shorter than everyone in seventh grade though.”
In the classroom and just hanging out with his friends, he has a way of standing out.
”He can read a book and know everything in it," Kate Robinson, an English teacher at Corydon Central High School, said. “I’m pretty sure he has a photographic memory.”
Karen York, his science teacher, added: ”He’s kind. I have never, ever once heard him ever speak a bad word.”
His teachers say his dedication for schoolwork goes well beyond what most students do. Even when there was no school on Election Day for the Indiana primary, he was there, ready to take an AP test.
“Lauren takes on multiple classes that we don’t even offer,” Robinson said.
Thoughts of college blossomed recently.
“I didn’t think about it much at all until I took the SAT for the first time at the end of my sophomore year,” Blackburn said.
He scored a 1550 on his first try, later raising his score to a 1580.
This year, Blackburn was chosen as one of 2,500 students for the National Merit Scholarship. And then this spring, he was selected as one of 300 in the country for the Gates Scholarship, which will cover tuition, room and board and books -- in short everything he’ll need -- to attend one of the world’s most elite schools in the fall.
“He’s just so deserving, he is,” York said.
He toured a handful of universities, along with a few Ivy League schools, before settling on Princeton University. Blackburn said it was the only school he applied to because he was accepted early.
“Princeton was my favorite because of the focus they put on their undergraduates,” he said.
After graduating high school in just a few weeks as one of the co-valedictorians, Blackburn will head to Princeton in August.
“I’m a little nervous,” he admitted. “I think it will be, hopefully, a lot more difficult at Princeton.”
He’s unsure of what he wants to study so far, he said, but he’s considering something in math or science.
“I know that he says he’s not sure what he wants to do, but whatever he does, it’s going to be amazing,” Robinson said. "He’s a pretty great kid.”
Blackburn said he’s grateful for all the help that’s gotten him to this point and he’s excited about what’s in store for his future.
"I’m just very grateful that I don’t have to worry about that and it’s given me the opportunity to go to Princeton and receive a world-class education. I’m very grateful and feel very blessed,” Blackburn said. "Princeton will allow me to study anything and get a world class education in anything.”